Animation_Effects

Animation& Effects

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Tell stories. In a whole new way.

You’re wired for this. And we’re ready to help push your creativity and build the technical skills you need to create new characters and the worlds they inhabit.

Program Areas

Media_Arts_Animation

Media Arts & Animation

Tony Jimenez

Media Arts & Animation , 2014

The Art Institute of Dallas, a campus of South University

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The skills and imaginations of animators, 3D modelers, concept artists, compositors, and other creative minds are needed everywhere from film to TV.

Visual_Effects_Motion

Visual Effects & Motion Graphics

Use industry-standard technologies and your own imagination as you combine images, space, movement, and sound to create new worlds in film, TV, and other media.

Meet our Faculty

  • Graphic Design Instructor Daniel Hanners

    Daniel Hanners

    Graphic & Web Design

    "This is a lifelong learning journey. You have to continually experience new things, learn from other people, and observe what's happening in the world around you."

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    Daniel Hanners

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I took a graphics technology in class in high school, and when I completed the entire production process—not only generate the design on the computer, but take it into the darkroom, on to press plates, and eventually print it myself, I knew I wanted to pursue design as a career.

    Can you describe your teaching philosophy?

    I try to offer a well-rounded class to provide a framework around which students can grow their experiences and develop intuition. I work to help motivate young designers to continue to grow and evolve—and develop their own identities. This is a lifelong learning journey. You have to continually experience new things, learn from other people, and observe what’s happening in the world around you.

    Can you share an example of your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    For students to compete in the business world, they have to become creative problem-solvers. I assign projects that are rich in design methods to encourage students to develop a problem-solving process. Many students find themselves on unexpected paths. The project leads the students to new thought processes, and you can see them developing as young professionals. To be a part of mentoring that process and watching students grow, there’s no greater excitement in the world.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Collaborative assignments are opportunities for students to work closely with peers from other disciplines. They apply their various skills and knowledge toward a common goal, sharing in the team’s success, learning from other students, and taking leadership in their own area of expertise.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    It takes real motivation and dedication to the profession to succeed. I tell my students to think of themselves as junior professionals. Be persistent at being the best they can be, and to take advantage of every opportunity to gain support from their peers.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Take every opportunity to go to conventions, lectures, special workshops, and events in your profession. Find a mentor and start creating a professional network of people who can support you.

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  • Fashion Instructor Jennifer Lezan

    Jennifer Lezan

    Fashion Design

    "I believe that dreams can come true if you're willing to follow through on your goals, put in the hard work, and never give up."

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    Jennifer Lezan

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    Whether it was designing on my Crayola Barbie Fashion Plates or painting portraits and sewing garments, I found joy in creating and working with my hands. If I had to pick one moment, it would be as a junior in a high school that offered a slew of Fashion courses that allowed me to learn more about the industry. We took a field trip to see a Chicago fashion designer in her studio. Listening to her experiences as both a business owner and creative, I knew I’d found my calling.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    As an adjunct, I stay active in the fashion industry. I run a digital fashion & lifestyle publication and design an indie kids wear label, so I am able to bring real-life case studies and scenarios into the classroom. I also have great working relationships with other industry professionals I can call on as guest speakers and for helping students find internships—even jobs. I like to keep it real with my students...the industry can be rough, but with enough hard work and drive they can do great things. I’m passionate about teaching, and I work hard to impact my students and inspire them as they follow their dreams.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my Lookbook and Fashion Styling course, I use my experience in the magazine world to combine styling, art direction, photography while teaching programs like Photoshop and InDesign. This is a great opportunity for them to get out there and see the big picture—and actually create something that has their voice. I truly believe that without experience, real-world practicum and hands-on work, theory is of no use.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    I constantly push my students to experiment within their work, and to question my ideals and theories I teach to solve a problem on their own and find their voice. I use my story—as scary, gritty and imperfect as it is—as a way to inspire others. I hope it instills hope in the hearts of students who are working to connect the dots and need a path to follow.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    I urge my students to network—most importantly outside of their department. Fashion designers work with photographers, advertisers, marketers, graphic designers and so on. I believe collaboration makes their experience on campus much more robust. Our annual charity fashion show is an incredible example. Students in nearly every discipline come together to execute a show that raises thousands of dollars for charity. Culinary Arts students provide food & drink, branding is created by Graphic & Web Design students create branding and update our website and social media, Audio Production students coordinate the music, and Digital Film students produce a live feed—they all work together in a coordinated fashion.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Students are at such a pivotal point in their development when they enter college and as an instructor, it’s my job to guide, mentor and inspire them to continue on their journey—no matter how rough it could potentially get. As someone who was once in their shoes, I know what they’re dealing with. The one ideal that I share constantly is the fact that their future is in their hands.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Even when times get tough, you can make a change and follow through. Find a way to meet your goals.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I am truly an advocate for education. It gives many people like me the opportunity to create their own future. I believe that dreams can come true if you’re willing to follow through on your goals, put in the hard work, and never give up.

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  • Physics Instructor Kenan Caymaz

    Kenan Caymaz

    Graphic & Web Design

    "I always stress the importance of creative thinking and problem solving."

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    Kenan Caymaz

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I’m a research physicist, and I teach two conceptual general education physics courses. I try to make them relevant so students can apply what they learn to their majors. One course deals with real-life topics like mechanics, electricity, and magnetism. I engage students by presenting each one with a twist. “Why not build indestructible cars as opposed to crushable ones?” “How does a cat survive falling from the top of the Sears tower better than falling from the second floor?” “Does a person exert the same impact force back on an oncoming train at 60 miles per hour?”

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    My students use their artistic backgrounds to turn in a creative project at the end of the quarter. I include some of the more exceptional projects in my multimedia physics lecture presentations. Stressing the importance of creativity in physics encourages students to push themselves to do better work.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Students regularly collaborate on research projects in my seminar class, and different majors work together on creative projects as well. One graduating film student’s senior project included Audio Production students creating the sound recording and background music, Fashion Design students designing the outfits, and Animation students working on the script and storyboard.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    I always stress the importance of creative thinking and problem solving.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Common sense is no substitute for education. And life-long education is important not only for your own general well-being, but your personal and professional growth.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Teaching here for 20 years has made me a much more creative instructor and much better lecturer.

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  • Audio Production Instructor Nia Adero

    Nia Adero

    Audio Production

    "Believe that you can do anything."

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    Nia Adero

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    In 1985, I wrote the lyrics and melody, and provided vocals for a recorded house music song that peaked at #15 on Billboard’s Top Music Charts - Hot 100 Hot Dance Club Play. This song, "Like This," was the beginning of my career as the artist/songwriter, K.Joy. It opened some amazing opportunities, and eventually led me to audio production because I wanted to learn how to properly record and mix my own music.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    As CEO & COO of two independent record labels, I have a professional background in entertainment business. I provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities, challenges, and opportunities of the profession—incorporating stories from my own experiences, giving realistic advice based on challenges I've overcome as an Ai student in the audio production program, as an artist, as an entertainment business professional, connecting students with industry professionals, playing examples of my music to show the difference between good and bad audio production/engineering, bringing in guest speakers, and challenging them to work harder, aspire for greatness, and become the best audio professionals they can be.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In the Internship class I teach for audio, photo, film, and animation students, I give an alternate assignment to prepare them for the interview process as they begin their job searches. There are a series of questions, based on research and typical questions I've heard in my own job interviews. Students answer these questions as if they’re actually interviewing, then come up with their own questions for the interviewer. I believe this assignment builds confidence, communication skills, and professionalism as it forces them to think critically, plan ahead, and always prepare.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Collaboration is vital to preparing students for the real world. At some point in almost every business, people work in teams. Students from various programs contributing to the same project is can improve communication skills, idea exchange, and success.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    I tell my students that perseverance is key to success, so it’s imperative not to give up. With determination, it’ll be easier to succeed in school—and in the real world.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Believe that you can do anything. Say out loud that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Write down your goals as constant reminders. Seek out ways to continually improve yourself and hone your skills. Network and learn from other creative professionals, Stay on the cutting edge of technology in your field. Do all those things and you’ll be virtually unstoppable!

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I strive to give, inspire, and truly make a difference.

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